Background The Dementia Together Service was launched in April 2017 and by the end of December 2018 had registered and supported 2,202 people - both people living with dementia and their carers living across Suffolk. The service consists of a helpline and staff who visit people living with dementia and their carers, providing support and signposting them to other services.
Aim The service is led by Sue Ryder working with a number of local organisations in service delivery. Despite a comprehensive range of services across Suffolk, people living with dementia were overwhelmed by varying offers which disabled them from accessing the most appropriate services to meet their needs.
Methods A service evaluation was undertaken, based on the views of people living with dementia, their carers, Dementia Together staff and external stakeholders. Questionnaires and focus groups were utilised to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data. Purposive sampling was utilised for the focus groups with people living with dementia and carers, and all staff were included in their focus group. Data from all methods were analysed and triangulated.
Results During Phase 1 of the evaluation, 133 questionnaire responses were gathered from people living with dementia, their carers, Dementia Together staff and external stakeholders. Focus groups were carried out with 18 people living with dementia, carers and navigators.
In phase 2, further focus groups with 20 people living with dementia, carers and navigators were conducted along with three case study interviews (n=3) and telephone/email interviews with eight stakeholders. Existing data from meetings and other reports were also analysed.
Conclusions The Dementia Together service has made a significant positive difference to people living with dementia, their families and carers across Suffolk.
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